Dragons will roar on the North Shore once again as the The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the 5th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.
The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. and include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the National Anthem by Alanna Wu, a Blessing of the Dragon by Vajiradhammapadip Buddhist Temple Monks and an “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.
This year’s event will consist of 34 teams with dragon boats provided by High Five Dragon Boat Co. With the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter race course, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. All race teams will have their own “encampment” along Harborfront Park as they are queuing up for their races. Team contests for the best team T-shirt and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day.
Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge and pier.
In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing and instrumentals. New this year is a special Ribbon Dragon Dance and musicians playing the traditional Japanese stringed instruments, the Shamisen and Koto.
Various Asian delicacies will be offered from food vendors including veggie lo mein, sushi, Japanese drinks and snacks, BBQ, smoothies, bubble tea and acai bowls.
Children’s activities will be in abundance with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, painting “dragon” eggs, visiting with a real live dragon, origami, trick yo-yo demonstrations and face painting. Come meet a Cosplay Iron Fist Character for photo opportunities. Adults can enjoy free chair massages, a bonsai display as well as free health screenings.
Special thanks to this year’s sponsors, which include HSBC; The Confucius Institute at Stony Brook University; Murphy’s Marine Service-PJ Sea Tow; New York Community Bank, Roslyn Savings Division; News12; Jet Sanitation; Times Beacon Record News Media; Quality King Construction; Danfords Hotel, Marina and Spa & The Waterview; Island Federal Credit Union; ServPro of Port Jefferson; The Gitto Group; and State Farm Agency — Patty Herbstman.
Free shuttle buses provided by the Port Jeff Jitney will make frequent stops on Oakland Avenue next to the Port Jefferson train station, the CVS parking lot on Barnum Avenue and the northeast corner of Belle Terre Road and Myrtle Avenue to bring eventgoers to the Port Jefferson Village Center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
7:45 a.m. Team captains meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park
8:30 a.m. Opening ceremonies
8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food vendors, crafts, children activities, photo booth pictures, retail/educational/nonprofit vendor tables
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Continual Dragon Boat races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor
9 a.m. First races begin
9 a.m. Students from Sts. Philip and James School sing the famous Chinese song Ba Ba Hao; Alice and Emily Snyder perform the “Liang Liang” dance; and a performance by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group
9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Demonstration by Taiko Tides (Japanese percussion instruments/drumming); North Shore Youth Music Ensemble sing Chinese folk songs; Yiyuan Dance Group perform Chinese & Mongolian folk dances
10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Performance by Lingyan Vocal Art Studio and The Sound of Long Island Chorus
11:15 to 11:45 a.m. DDKY (Traditional Korean instruments); Yixin’s Dance Center perform Chinese classical and folk dances
11:45 a.m. Li Ping Zhang dance and Li na Liu dance performances
12 to 1 p.m. Lunch break (no racing)
12 to 12:30 p.m. Parade of the Team T-Shirt Contest and Best Drummer Costume Contest.
12:30 p.m. Long Island Waist Drum Club and Stony Brook Chinese School–Tai Chi
1 p.m. Dragon Boat races continue
1 to 2 p.m. Authentic Shaolin Kung Fu–lion dance, Kung Fu & Tai Chi demonstrations; Yana Dancing School performing the “Butterfly Lovers” dance
2 p.m. DDKY (Traditional Korean instruments)
2:30 p.m. Miyabi Koto Shamisen Ensemble perform Japanese Koto and Shamisen instruments
3 p.m. Performance of Chinese dances by Yixin’s Dance Center
3:30 p.m. Demonstration by Taiko Tides (Japanese percussion instruments/drumming)
4 p.m. Martial arts demonstration by United Martial Arts Center
4:45 p.m. Last Dragon Boat race of the day
5 to 5:30 p.m. Closing ceremonies and awards